There is a lot going on behind the scenes in MasksNowIL, and we are sure you have some questions! Whether you have a question about how to make masks, who gets the masks, or looking for general information on masking, we’ve got answers for you!

Who is MasksNowIL?

MasksNowIL is a grassroots organization of volunteers who are making, collecting and distributing masks to healthcare facilities and social service organizations in need.

Where do our masks go?

Any facility or organization can request masks from us if they are in need! Each requesting party is contacted and verified to ensure that we adequately meet their needs.

Can I make masks if I am not an experienced sewer?

In short, yes! The patterns we suggest are easy and great for beginning or inexperienced sewers. If you find you are having trouble, join our Facebook community to get answers to questions and learn from other volunteers!

How many masks do I have to make to be a volunteer?

We have no specific quota we require volunteers to meet. We are grateful for anything you can contribute – whether it is five masks or five hundred masks, every little bit helps to stop the spread.

What type of sewing machine needle works best?

A universal needle works well for most two-layer cotton masks. If you are having trouble stitching in elastic or securing the layers of pleating, try a #90 denim needle, quilting needle, or topstitching needle.

Are there specific requirements the masks have to meet?

Yes! While we accept any mask style donated, we encourage volunteers to follow these guidelines:

  • At least two layers of good-quality cotton. Unsure what the quality of your cotton is? Hold two layers up to your face and see if you can blow out a candle. If you can do so easily, you may need a higher-thread count cotton. If you can’t blow out the candle easily, you are good to go!

  • Patterned, logos and colored masks are acceptable, as long as they are not culturally offensive. If you can, please make sure the inside fabric and the outside fabric are different.

  • No hair tie, rope, twine or ribbon ear loops. They are uncomfortable, and often do not hold up to rigorous washing of healthcare facilities and break under the repeated use at other organizations.

  • Nose wires are acceptable as long as they are securely attached to the mask and are washable.

What do I do with masks that are ready for donation?

You can drop them off at any of our drop off locations, or email to arrange pick up or shipping of the masks. We have drop off locations in:

  • Arlington Heights

  • Buffalo Grove

  • Chicago (West Town)

  • Hanover Park

  • Lockport

  • Northbrook

  • Skokie

*for drop offs located near/on the UIUC Campus, please contact

Do facilities have to pay for the masks? And how do we get them?

No. Masks are free and donated to facilities in need, and they are either shipped or dropped off to a pre-specified location.

What kind of donations do you accept?

We are willing to accept any and all help that our community can help us with! We accept monetary donations through our GoFundMe, but we also accept donations of:

  • Cotton fabric

  • Elastic

  • Purchased/Manufactured Masks

  • Surgical Masks

Does this count for school community service hours/student requirements?

Yes! We encourage people of all ages, especially students, to get involved in this effort. If you have documentation that you need signed, please let Emma Davenport know at or call 847.496.0390.

Is there any other way to volunteer besides sewing?

Yes, there are multiple ways to help! There are many steps to getting the masks actually on faces, so we always welcome the help!

Can’t find what you are looking for? Join our volunteer community on Facebook to learn more tips and tricks and have the opportunity to connect with other volunteers!

Get in Touch. Get Involved.

MasksNowIL is a grassroots non profit organization, and an initiative of The Blair Project. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, @MasksNowIL. For questions, please contact Emma Davenport:

Call Us: 847.496.0390

%d bloggers like this: